US Seminars

U.S. Opinion Leaders - December 2014

Dates: December 14-18, 2014

In December, PI sponsored a delegation to Israel of American opinion leaders. It included a senior correspondent to The Daily Beast, an editor at the National Review, a national security analyst at FOX News, and the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Throughout the week, high-level briefings and site visits gave participants a first-hand understanding of the geopolitical issues currently facing Israel and the region, such as threat of missiles from Gaza, danger of armed conflict with Hezbollah, and unstable border relations with Syria. Read more »

University Presidents - June/July 2014

A delegation of presidents and chancellors from top U.S. universities visited Israel in June 2014 to explore opportunities for bilateral academic partnerships and collaboration. The delegation met with counterparts from Bar-Ilan University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Technion (Israel’s Institute of Technology), Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and University of Haifa.

Throughout their week in Israel, the participants met with leaders across a wide array of industries, including areas relevant to their universities such as research, water and environmental sustainability, biotechnology, urbanization and diversity. The delegation arrived in Israel days after the bodies of three missing Israeli teenagers were found in the West Bank and delegates were particularly sensitive to the anxious feeling in the air and the anxiety the seminar speakers expressed.

Shabbat dinner and the cocktail were highlights of the trip as they provided a relaxed atmosphere where the presidents and chancellors could speak with Israelis in an informal manner, experience Israeli culture, and have fun. Participants also noted that the session with Dr. Tal Becker, Principal Deputy Legal Advisor to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was excellent in shedding light on Israel and the peace process.

Ivy League Student Leaders - May 2014

In May 2014, a group of 16 Ivy League students from Brown University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University, traveled to Israel with AJC’s Project Interchange to gain a first-hand understanding of Israel, its successes and challenges, and its role in the wider Middle East. This was the PI’s first delegation of exclusively Ivy League students.

During the seminar, students heard from notable Israelis, Israeli-Arabs, and Palestinians on topics ranging from human rights in Israel, the Arab Israeli community, the integration of minorities, Palestinian society and politics to Israel and the peace process, emergency response through the power of community and the ultra-orthodox community. Students also appreciated the opportunity to visit Ramallah and meet with representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, the group was moved by its visit to Sderot, a town near the Gaza Strip which experiences regular rocket attacks and has built bomb shelters all over the city.

University Provosts - January 2014

A delegation of provosts and deans from top U.S. universities visited Israel in January 2014 to explore opportunities for academic partnerships and collaboration.

Throughout the weeklong trip, participants met with administrative and academic leaders from Tel Aviv University (TAU) andthe Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The delegates met with high-ranking leaders of these universities to discuss technological innovations such as the flash drive, Internet Firewall, Skype and the Iron Dome, that were developed based upon research undertaken at TAU. A particular highlight of the seminar included a conversation with Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States and President of the Israel Institute. Another noteworthy meeting held by the participants was with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah at his office in Ramallah.

Campus Media - December 2013/January 2014

Dates: December 29, 2013 - January 4, 2014

In December 2013, a delegation of 15 campus media leaders traveled to Israel to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, both in Israel and in Ramallah, to hear for themselves the various, sometimes conflicting, narratives surrounding Israel and gain a first-hand understanding of Israeli society.

The highlight of this trip was a surprise visit from US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Secretary Kerry joined the group unexpectedly while the participants were attending a briefing by US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki and he fielded questions from the students about the ongoing negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. After meeting with Secretary Kerry, the students has a chance to see for themselves sites often mentioned in news coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, such as Sderot which borders the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights in the north, and a settlement in the West Bank. Other highlights included visits with Israeli journalists and trips to historic and religious sites, such as the Sea of Galilee, the Old City of Jerusalem, and Yad Vashem.

The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation Seminar in Israel for California Student Leaders - December 2013/January 2014

Dates: December 29, 2013 - January 4, 2014

Project Interchange gratefully acknowledges the generous support of The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, without whose support this seminar for California student leadership would not have been possible.

In December 2013, a delegation of 12 California-based students from the University of California’s Davis, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Irvine, San Diego and Los Angeles campuses, in addition to San Francisco State University, traveled to Israel as part of Project Interchange’s the fourth annual seminar in Israel for California Student Leaders.

The highlight of this trip was a surprise visit from US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Secretary Kerry joined the group unexpectedly while the participants were attending a briefing by US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki and he fielded questions from the students about the ongoing negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Additionally, the seminar participants were introduced to Israeli geostrategic issues including military fronts as they were briefed from a lookout point over Gaza in the City of Sderot and through touring the Golan Heights. Participants were also provided the opportunity to establish an understanding of modern history of Israel though a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. The students also enjoyed touring the fascinating Dead Sea for some fun.

National Latino Leaders - November 2013

(Jerusalem, ISRAEL) – Project Interchange’s 21st seminar for Latino opinion leaders is in Israel.

This initiative is conducted in collaboration with AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute (LLAI). AJC’s Project Interchange and LLAI have a long and illustrious history of bringing Latino and Latin American leaders to Israel together. The participants of this delegation include former senior Senate and Administration staff on both sides of the political aisle, policy experts, a Hollywood agent with an impressive client list, and other senior policy and cultural leaders.

LGBT Leaders - October 2013

American LGBT leaders from top national advocacy organizations, academia, government and the media are visiting Israel to explore bilateral partnerships and collaboration with their Israeli counterparts, as part of the first-ever Project Interchange seminar focused on the LGBT community.

The seminar, designed by AJC’s Project Interchange in consultation with the participants, will offer broad exposure to the complex issues facing Israel and the region, with the delegation scheduled to meet with senior government, academic and civil society leaders across the Israeli social and political spectrum.

Water Management Experts - October 2013

From October 20 - 28, Project Interchange hosted a delegation of water management officials from Houston and other coastal cities across Texas and the U.S. While there, the group participated in Israel’s renowned WATEC (Water Technology and Environment Control Exhibition and Conference).

The week-long visit showcased Israeli advances and established strategic partnerships, fostered professional cooperation, and encouraged information-sharing between U.S. water specialists and their Israeli counterparts. The delegation featured some of the U.S. water sector’s most prominent figures, with top water experts from government, academia, and the business world.

Read about the delegation here.

South Florida Hispanic Media Leaders - August 2013

A delegation of influential Hispanic journalists based in South Florida, hub to Latin America as well as the Latino community in the United States, is traveling in Israel. This pioneering initiative is Project Interchange’s 20th such seminar for Latino opinion leaders, proudly conducted in collaboration with AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute.